Dream Home Total Renovation

Earlier this year, we completed a total renovation for a young family with a vision of a dream home with all the latest amenities (in floor heating throughout just to name one). This traditional 4500 sq ft mansion was completely transformed into a contemporary yet traditional home (i’m not sure I love that design term “transitional”), through months of hard work and re-imagining. In addition, we added about 1500 sq. ft of living space by finishing a basement complete with a laundry room, nanny suite and bathroom. Welcome to the tour of before and afters, featuring fabulous onsite photography photos from Claudia Hung.

Stairs & Foyer:

The stairs & foyer featured a giant crystal multi-tier light fixture, which was a feat just to take down! The stairs were re-stained and painted, and the granite floors were taken out and replaced with a glorious wide plank dark stained oak engineered hardwood floor from Nadurra.  For wide open spaces such as these, dark flooring fits perfectly. Lastly, the chandelier was replaced with a graphic lantern from Prima Lighting.


Powder Room:
The powder room was in a crammed hallway that led to the garage. The best solution to solve the traffic jam of doors opening and closing, was to add a pocket door. The frosted paneled door lets in additional light. We added a custom vanity made from Caesarstone quartz, and tiled the floors with marble to give it an extra clean look.

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Because the laundry room was sunken, the ceilings were level with the main floor, so we had an extra 2 ft. to play with. The clients wanted to create a family friendly mudroom, so we increased storage space by adding two layers of cabinetry, cubbies for each of their three children, and space for their shoes. The custom sink unit with Caesarstone countertops make washing items from the garage a breeze.

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I love inserting little tiling details where possible to create some textural interest. Here I added a band of square mosaic tiles from Ciot.

The Basement: I love it when basements are raw, open spaces. The best thing about them is starting from scratch, and being able to see each situation before building it out. I’ll spare you most of the boring “before” pictures here!

Tip #1: if you’re planning on adding a rental or nanny suite, you should add sound insulation in the ceiling. I’d recommend Roxul Safe n’ Sound, which will help dampen the transfer of noise.

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Tip #2: Take advantage of your natural floor plan wisely. For example, we built out the niche here as a little play area. Your contractor and designer should walk you through all the options for every nook and corner. You dont want to overdo it unless you have a use for it, but at the same time you want to utilize nooks for good spaces if it’ll allow. 

Basement Bathroom:
The space before was unfinished, but here is a great example of a clean lined, neutral bathroom space that was created with a custom glass shower stall, and a floating vanity from Ikea.


Since we re-located the laundry to the basement in favour of the mudroom, we took advantage of space and added a full wall of custom cabinetry with Caesarstone countertops in Shitake, which is a nice surprise to the space as it warms it up.  The original design called for a stronger blue paint on the walls, but the subtle colour the client opted for works well as well.  I wish I had a better picture of the flooring, but this is one of my absolute most favourite tiles. It is called Planet Ice RT from Ciot, and has a beautiful subtle grey with a touch of shine to it.


Upstairs Hallway:
Heading upstairs now, where there was a drastic change from the original stair railing and hallway to the new wrought iron picket/ dark hardwood makeover!

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Boys Bathroom:
I LOVE how this boy’s bathroom turned out. Whenever I design bathrooms that will be used by kids, I always think about the design working as well for them 10 years later as it would for today. The old bathroom was tiled floor to ceiling, so everything had to be re-drywalled and re-worked. We had wainscoting put in, which brightened up the amazing grey tiles. A flat profile bathtub was installed to encourage ease of cleaning.

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I just want to pause a bit on the tile work that the contracting team did for us… it is just so GOOD and I LOVE LOVE LOVE how this turned out! A wonderful dotted basket-weave mosaic was applied to the shower niche, and a strip of moonstone mosaic was flanked by taupe and white 4″ x 16″ ceramic tiles.
Tip: Notice the height of the tub stall now that it is a lighter colour? That’s partially due to the band doing what it was designed to do, as it is drawing your eye upwards.

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The old vanity was taken out and we installed a new simple white vanity with shaker doors. 
Girl’s Bathroom:
Sorry for this picture of the contractor measuring, but this is the only picture I had of the ridiculous previous layout that was put in by the builder. With a window in the middle, the vanities were split into two with the best of dividing devices: a toilet. To remedy this ghastly sight, we designed a wonderful vanity long marble topped vanity, and encroached into one of the girl’s rooms for extra room to make a stand up shower. The result was a soft and feminine beautiful space for twin girls to grow up. Certainly they wont be fighting over counter space as the vanity was over 110″ long!

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One of my favourite things is tile (can you tell?), so I took this opportunity to do a lovely mosaic floor with a triangular mosaic shower niche.

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Master Bathroom:
Although this washroom had a glass shower, it did not help the spacial issues as it was still suffering from giagantic-tub-eritis… that is, these large corner tubs with steps that seem to plague all large homes built in the 80’s or 90’s. (Although one day I think we might be taking out all these freestanding tubs we’re putting in). Anyway I digress. We removed all the wall tiles, and replaced the lower half with white wainscoting. We also installed a freestanding tub, a large shower and a gorgeous custom vanity.

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One of the most common dilemmas we get from clients is wanting more storage space in their washrooms. This is why we designed a cabinet tower for the middle on top of the vanity desk. The crown molding really gives it a great built-in look.


The client chose all Hans-grohe fixtures. The shower niches were detailed with these lovely mosaics that give it that custom touch.


Last but not least, we have the new custom kitchen, which was chock-full of incredible features and featured showstopper appliances.

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Tip: It is important to discuss which appliances you would like to have in your kitchen with your designer. Be prepared to pay extra for special installations such as gas lines (which should always be done by a licensed gas technician), extra amp plugs for wall ovens/double wall ovens, larger range hood ducts (a higher end range hood like this one required an 8″ duct) and specialized built-in appliances such as fridges.


The island held large pot drawers, which were ideal for holding kids cutlery and dishes.
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A bar sink was also added into the island.

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A pot filler was added by the cook top. I wanted to show a picture of this backsplash, which is seriously my favourite tile so far… it’s a beautiful marble herringbone which took a very long time to install 🙂 Hope you enjoyed!

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